I mean, I’m afraid of lots of things surrounding the family expansion that’s on the way. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to find the time to do my work (which does not involve maternity leave). I’m afraid that I’ll be so overtired and stressed out that I’ll take it out on Kendrick, and that our baby’s first months in the world will be full of yelling rather than joy. I’m afraid that I’ll be so busy and worried about everything that I’ll forget to notice what’s really happening, which is that my daughter is right there in front of me, learning where her fingers are or how to reach for a toy, and then it’ll be over, and I’ll never have a baby again, and I’ll spend ever day for the rest of my life wishing I had just stopped everything to be with my child and watch her watch the world.
I’m afraid of all of those things.
But right now, right this moment, what I’m afraid of is this: nearly every new parent I’ve spoken to has told me that part of how you make it through those first few months with a toddler and an infant is basically by dividing and conquering. I’ve heard from more than one new mom of two that – in the beginning, at least – her partner is generally the one “responsible” for the older child, the one taking him out, playing with him, feeding him, heading out to the park with him, while she stays home with the baby (because, of course, there are some things that Dads just can’t do for a newborn; breastfeeding, for example). I’ve also heard that the moment your new baby arrives, something changes in the way you see your first child: they seem so big, all of a sudden. So capable. And that’s wonderful, and also a loss: where did my baby go?
While I know, of course, that I will love our daughter exactly as much as I love our son…I can’t imagine it yet. I can’t imagine wanting to spend time with anyone else in quite the same way that I want - need - to be with my son.
So that’s what I’m afraid of: saying goodbye to him, or at least goodbye to the just-us-three (and, more often, just-us-two) life that we live right now. When we first wake up, we snuggle under a blanket on the couch and eat waffles and page through books. We choose which hat we want to wear that day. We line up rocks in the backyard. We pick out apples in the grocery store and put them in the cart. And every night, there’s a half hour before bedtime that we spend on my bed watching Dinosaur Train and eating pretzels. I used to feel guilty that I let my son watch TV every night, but the truth is that I can’t help myself: he loves it, but I think I love it more. We’re just so still, laying there together while the sun goes down.
I know that there will be other new traditions to replace our old ones, and that the new traditions will be wonderful as well…but still: I don’t want to let a single one of these moments in the right-now go.
My Website Was Stolen By A Hacker. And I Got It Back.
*** *** ***
For several days last week, RamshackleGlam.com – the domain name that I have owned and operated since March of 2010 – did not belong to me, but rather to a man who goes by the name “bahbouh” on an auction website called Flippa.com, and who was attempting to sell off the site to the highest bidder (with a “Buy It Now” price of $30,000.00). He promised the winner my traffic, my files, and my data, and suggested that I was available “for hire” to continue writing posts (alternatively, he was willing to provide the winner with “high-quality articles” and “SEO advice” to maintain the site’s traffic post-sale).
I learned that my site was stolen on a Saturday. Three days later I had it back, but only after the involvement of fifty or so employees of six different companies, middle-of-the-night conferences with lawyers, FBI intervention, and what amounted to a sting operation that probably should have starred Sandra Bullock instead of…well…me.
Of course I’ve heard of identity theft, and of cyber hacking, but honestly, my attitude towards these things was very much “it could never happen to me.” And even if it did…I didn’t exactly understand why it was such a huge deal. Couldn’t you just explain to people what had happened, prove who you were, and sort it all out? We live in such a highly documented world, it seemed completely impossible to me that someone could actually get away with pretending to be someone else with any real consequences beyond a few phone calls and some irritation.
It’s much, much worse - more threatening, more upsetting, and more difficult (if not impossible) to fix - than I’d ever imagined.
Going to the mall with a toddler is both terrible and extremely fun. It’s terrible when you do things like accidentally stay one iota of a second longer than said toddler wants to walk or be in the stroller (that’s when Dad’s Shoulders – and Grumpy Dad – come into play) and when you announce “Let’s go get an Elsa toy!” only to discover that the Disney store has experienced a catastrophic run on anything and everything Frozen-related, leaving only a sad, sad display consisting of a shirt (size 8) reading “Let It Go” and two Hans dolls. It is wonderful when you happen upon the merry-go-round, which is apparently a sight of incomparable wonder, or when you discover sushi and Coldstone and a movie theater within five feet of each other.
Seeing the Easter Bunny is somewhere in between those two extremes. On the plus side, our son was very excited and happy while waiting on line. On the minus side…
Perhaps slightly less happy once he actually got within range of what is apparently a very, very scary rabbit.
But really, this was how we spent most of the past couple of days: at home, potty training and staying entertained with Legos.
I’ve been waiting and waiting for “signs” that meant that my son was “ready” to start potty training (they – by which I mean the Internet – say that if a child wakes up with a dry diaper they’re ready, stuff like that)…but you know what ended up happening? Only a couple of the “signs” were there, but one day, in one of those psychic-mom moments that do occasionally happen (albeit less often than you wish that they would)…I just knew he was ready. There was nothing in particular that he did, but something in his general demeanor just shifted, and I woke up on Friday morning and thought: let’s just do this. Today.
Or maybe it was just because I’d gotten a decent night’s sleep, and felt marginally capable of handling what I was certain was about to be a profoundly miserable experience for all involved. Psychic-ness…or sleep. Either way, I decided it was time.
I was terrified of potty-training the way I was terrified of getting rid of my son’s (extremely beloved) pacifier; it just seemed like something that would be hugely upsetting to all involved, take forever, and result in major issues like a massively disrupted sleep schedule or something. But – just like getting rid of the pacifier (day one: kind of horrible; day two: pretty much okay; day three: forgotten entirely) – it was totally fine.
Without going too far into specifics, I basically just bought my son some really cool underpants (cars, monsters, et cetera) and put him in them, and very quickly he realized how uncomfortable it was to not get where he needed to go in time. Lots and lots and lots of positive reinforcement, Pull-Ups for longer out-of-the-house excursions (and for nap time and bedtime) for the time being, and two and a half days (and, yes, a lot of accidents) later: I’d say we’re pretty much there. And it was so much less stressful that I imagined, I can’t even tell you.
Mostly because it is crazy adorable to see your child look that proud of himself.
Let me preface this by saying that I am not one of those people who is unfailingly stiff-upper-lip-y and stoic in the face of challenges, physical or otherwise. If I twist my ankle, I am more than happy to sit down and let you bring me some ice while I watch back-to-back episodes of My So-Called Life. If I’m trying to carry a heavy tote bag that’s making me miserable and I am in the presence of a large and/or strong person who is willing to do the job for me, that is wonderful. If I am pregnant and you want to bring me tea while I do an impression of an amoeba: great.
That said, it is very strange feeling to all of a sudden – like, overnight – have my body decide that it is no longer interested in doing certain things that I would reasonably expect it to be able to do. I’m not talking about dead-lifting two-hundred-pound cabinets and running marathons; I’m talking about walking what I consider “normal” distances while carrying what I consider “normal” amounts of things.
I’ve talked before about how different this pregnancy is from my first, mostly because I honestly keep forgetting that I am. Pregnant. There are a few minutes every evening when I’m quiet and still and lay in bed and feel my daughter kick and think about who she will be, but during the daylight hours there’s way too much going on to spend a ton of time reveling in any Miracles Of Life. This is pretty normal, I think.
This weekend, though, my body decided to remind me of what’s going on. Loudly.
I had a shoot in the West Village on Saturday, and took a cab downtown to meet the photographer (above) because I was running late, but then decided to take the subway home even though I was carrying a big bag full of clothing because the station was only a few blocks away, and taxis are unconscionably expensive, and…I mean, obviously I took the subway. I always walk around New York City carrying bags and taking subways. It would literally never occur to me to not do this.
But during the walk from the train station back to my parents’ place to pick up my son I ended up sort of panicking, and stopping into a store and asking the proprietor if I could sit down for a minute, because I felt light-headed and was starting to feel a pain in my side that I remembered from the first time around but that was nevertheless freaking me out. (It’s called round ligament pain; it just means you need to take it easy for a minute, but is a little worrying until you realize what’s going on.) I felt embarrassed about asking the store owner if I could sprawl out in her lovely establishment, and it wasn’t until she started asking me questions about my due date that I remembered: oh, right. These things happen. They’re normal, and they don’t mean you’re weak/a disaster/pathetic…they just mean that you need to chill out and pay attention to what your body wants. And if what it wants is to sit down:
You sit. Down.
I remember this needing-to-listen-to-your-body more thing happening when I was pregnant with Indy, of course, but I remember it happening later, when it felt like it made more sense. I mean, I’m only four and a half months pregnant. That is not a lot of pregnant; we’ve got a lot more headed this way. But apparently your body “remembers” what’s about to happen and lays it out for you earlier the second time around (as an example, that’s why some women start showing a little earlier in their second pregnancy).
The thing is, to me it’s not an especially comfortable feeling to be out in the world by myself and need to rely on strangers to give me a seat, or get me some water. It makes me feel slow, and helpless, and sort of pathetic, incapable of handling things that I really do need my body to be capable of handling, like picking up my son and unloading Costco boxes (sometimes at the same time). I had this weird fantasy-nightmare last night when I was falling asleep that the house was on fire and I had to lift both dogs and my son out of a window, and that I wasn’t able to do it because my body decided to say no.
If this sounds like I’m being all woe-is-me, I really don’t mean for it to: obviously this is all happening because of an exciting, extraordinary, lucky event. Besides: I’m hardly in crippling pain, and as pregnancy troubles go “slowing down a little” is standard practice. I know that to some extent it’s necessary, and I know that there are things that I can do to help with discomfort (stretching, going to the gym, et cetera), and I’m doing those things. It’s just a shock to remember that being pregnant is a big deal, and puts your body through a lot - I had forgotten, I think.
And I guess something about this loss of control is making it extra-difficult to get my emotions under control. When I say that I am crying every thirty seconds, it is not very much of an exaggeration – I’ve actually switched over to waterproof eyeliner because I have no way to predict when I am going to cry or why beyond the knowledge that it will probably happen very, very soon and for completely unforeseeable reasons. Forget about having mini-episodes while walking home from subway stations; everything from Virgil peeing on my floor to the laundry that I dropped while I was walking up the stairs to my son giving me a hug -> tears. And seriously: can that Christina Aguilera duet “Say Something” PLEASEstop playing on the radio every five minutes? That would be great.